Happy Australia Day to all of my readers.
For all of my non-Australian readers let me explain. Australia Day celebrates the arrival of the First Fleet carrying soldiers and convicts to Sydney in 1788. They were the first Europeans to settle here and were followed soon after by many free settlers.
Traditionally families have gathered on this special public holiday for picnics, barbecues, games of cricket or tennis and swimming at one of our many thousands of wonderful beaches. Many people also go boating or sailing in our wonderful waters, like Sydney Harbour shown above. This is also a time of year when there is much on offer in the way of international sporting events to attend or watch, including the Australian Open Tennis in Melbourne.
And what did I do?
Not a great deal apart from some reading and writing here on this site and on some of my other sites (see Trevor’s Birding here as an example). It was cool here in South Australia with a little light drizzle – can’t call it rain – and not at all like the normal hot weather we usually expect at this time of the year. Still, I don’t mind the milder form of summer we are currently enjoying.
This evening I took my wife to our local cinema to see the Australian film The Water Diviner directed by and starring Russell Crowe. This powerful and engaging film tells the story of a father looking for his three sons who went missing in action during World War I at Gallipoli in Turkey in 1915. The story, based on real events, poignantly relates this father’s anguished quest to find his boys after the war in 1919. The movie was filmed partially here in South Australia in places we know well.
For non-Australian readers this movie will not open outside of Australia for a few months yet, so I recommend that you look out for its release.
On April 25th Australians and New Zealanders all over the world celebrate ANZAC Day. This is a very special day on the calendar of both nations.
ANZAC is an acronym for Australian and New Zealand Army Corps. It is regarded by many in Australia as the day our nation took its place on the world stage. Soldiers from both countries landed on the beach of what was later called Anzac Cove at Gallipoli in Turkey on 25th April, 1915. It was at a terrible cost; many thousands of soldiers on both sides died in a protracted battle lasting many months.
ANZAC Day is celebrated throughout Australia and New Zealand and in many other parts of the world to commemorate this special event. Most communities – from small townships through the largest cities – hold Dawn Services to remember the fallen soldiers. Parades are a feature of our larger cities. As the soldiers who survived pass away with the passage of time, their places are proudly taken by their children and grandchildren, most wearing their badges and decorations with great respect and pride.
In the early 1980s the numbers observing this great event in our history dwindled as the numbers of survivors declined. In the last decade however, this trend has been reversed. As the last of the survivors of the attack in Gallipoli died several years ago, many of the younger generation – those in their twenties and thirties – suddenly realised the passing of history. Every year since the parades and observances have seen ever increasing numbers of participants, all eager to remember this significant turning point in our history. Of particular interest is the increasing number of people – again, mostly younger people – who make the long pilgrimage to Gallipoli itself. The emotionally moving Dawn Service on ANZAC Day is often attended by over twenty thousand people.
For more information click here.